It’s a sad state of affairs for Raza in film these days. Shit is bleak y’all. I went to the Blockbuster on 16th street after work to rent some Blu-Rays but instead was tempted by two movies on DVD starring my people. I’ve got a soft spot for films in the probably fucked up direct to DVD movies starring Latinos genre. It took all the willpower I had not to rent the copy of Hoodrats 2 staring at me.
Hoochie Mamma Drama
The first movie up is Hoochie Mamma Drama. The story centers around Guera, a sharpied chola who tries to maintain her relationship with two-timin’ Lazy, the local cholo drug dealer. Of all the things done wrong in the movie the scenario is pretty realistic: two homegirls battling it out with each other for the same man without even questioning his responsibility in sleeping with both of them. If there’s anything to really be offended about it’s that it actually reinforces this logic instead of subverting it. One of the last lines of dialogue spoken by one of the cholas is “This is stupid, we’re not getting anywhere” and that sums Hoochie Mamma Drama up perfectly.
The most ridiculous part of Hoochie Mamma Drama is gay rapper turned actor Deadlee. I know it’s hard out there for LGBT performers but this is the worst straight-for-pay acting job I’ve ever seen. The only time I actually laughed during Hoochie Mamma Drama was when he busted out with gay porno moves during the first sex scene. Even worse, despite the fact that one of the lead actors is gay the film is stacked with homophobic caricatures and language.
There’s no doubt that Hoochie Mamma Drama is a chola coon show but there’s something almost endearing about its reckless hyperbole. My hat goes off to actress Monique La Barr who stars as Guera. Her performance is so over the top and energetic she’s like a Latina Bruce Campbell (circa the Evil Dead films).
The Cell 2
Next up is The Cell 2. The sequel to the Jennifer Lopez film, The Cell 2 follows psychic investigator Maya Casteneda (Tessie Santiago) as she tracks a serial killer named the Cusp. The killer is infamous for killing his victims and resurrecting them until they can’t stand it any more and beg for a final death. There’s nothing scary or suspenseful about The Cell 2, just the horror of the Cusp’s victims being tortured with misogynistic glee. Watching The Cell 2 is torture in and of itself, you’ll be asking for a mercy killing after a few minutes it. As Bruce Campbell once said, “You didn’t just commit a crime against me, which was pretty frickin’ huge, you committed a crime against art itself.”
The only real connection this bullshit flick has to the original Cell is that they star Latinas who are tracking down serial killers. The film tries to establish continuity with the first film by starting out with footage from it. This is the biggest mistake The Cell 2 makes, the contrast between the movies is so huge that it sticks with you the whole time you watch it. Being reminded of how slick the first one looks while watching the broke-ass second just makes you want to see Jennifer Lopez do her thing.
There’s just no imagination in the design of The Cell 2. Even on a small budget the visuals are just terrible. Check out this comparison of what it looks like inside the mind of the killer in the first and second films. The backgrounds used in The Cell 2 look like they’re almost all static Photoshop compositions so there’s no excuse for not making it more engaging.
The saddest part of The Cell 2 is that it’s a star vehicle for Tessie Santiago. During the turn of the century Santiago was one of my favorite actresses. She was the star of Queen of Swords, a syndicated television show that was in the spirit of Xena: Warrior Princess. She played, essentially, a female version of Zorro. I always thought it was subversive that a Latina was playing a Spaniard and not the other way around. Alas when the show was canceled her career stalled, The Cell 2 is her first starring roll since Queen of Swords. Sadly she’s not even imitating J-Lo here, Santiago acts and is made to look like a bootleg Eva Longoria. I just felt sorry for her, she goes through the whole film looking tired and bored. Heartbreaking.
On her twitter feed Julieta Venegas posted a photo of herself with Mala Rodriguez and Nelly Furtado in a studio. According to her tweets, this holy trifecta is making a song for Furtado’s forthcoming Spanish language album.
This better be one of the best songs of all time or I’m going to be hella disappointed.
On the free download tip is the latest and greatest mixtape from electro hip-hop band Hyper Crush. I’ve written about Hyper Crush and their Latin American singer Holly Valentine before . This new mixtape is a free download so check it out! Click on the image below and “save link as”.
Culture Clash’s Herbert Siguenza recently sent me an image of a toy with his likeness that will be coming out to coincide with the movie Ben 10: Alien Swarm. I can’t think of another Latino who’s had an action figure created in their likeness and even though he’s a sneering villain I think it’s a huge step forward. Orale Herbert!
You can see Herbert in Ben 10: Alien Swarm airing on the Cartoon Network in November of 2009.
My favorite performance artist Ask a Chola has posted a series of photographs from a recent trip to Disneyland. Check out her subversive shenanigans here.